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Int J Cancer. 1997 Mar 4;70(5):499-501.

Microsatellite instability in cervical and endometrial carcinomas.

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Department of Genetics, Institute for Cancer Research, The Norwegian Radium Hospital, Oslo.


Microsatellite instability has been found preferentially in tumours associated with the hereditary non-polyposis-colorectal-cancer (HNPCC) syndrome. This phenotype, manifested as new alleles at microsatellite loci, and often the result of a defective mismatch-repair gene, is seen as allelic mobility shifts during electrophoretic runs. We examined possible alterations at 8 dinucleotide loci mapping to 6 different chromosomes in endometrial cancers (n = 20) and cervical cancers (n = 82). Overall instability was found in 30% of the endometrial cancers and in 6% of the cervical cancers, including 3 (15%) and 2 (2%) tumours, respectively, unstable at more than one locus. In contrast to the endometrial cancer sub-group, the affected cervical cancers were characterized by one or two new alleles at one or few loci. By DNA ploidy measurements 5 diploid endometrial cancers were microsatellite-unstable vs. one diploid of 6 unaltered cases (p = 0.015; Fisher's exact test). Our data confirm that a sub-set of diploid sporadic endometrial cancers are characterized by a mutator phenotype similar to that found in colorectal cancer. In contrast, among cervical cancers, not characterized by the HNPCC-tumour spectrum, this mutator phenotype is seen infrequently, and positive cases appear to display only minor alterations.

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